EVICTION: You Can Help Shape Policy in South Pasadena | An Important Survey for Renters

City of South Pasadena conducting survey for renters regarding housing ordinance on issue of evictions for substantial remodels

PHOTO: City Council Meeting on June 13, 2023, City staff presented a draft ordinance that would amend South Pasadena’s Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance.

At the direction of the South Pasadena City Council, the City Hall is developing a ‘Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance’.  The ordinance is intended to address the issue of renters being evicted from their home due to ‘substantial remodeling’ by a property owner.

According to the City Manager’s office, staff is conducting a multi-pronged outreach effort to South Pasadena citizens about an important survey that will help in gathering as much information and input as possible from South Pasadena Residents.

The outreach effort includes meeting with local groups such as the South Pasadena Tenants Union, listening sessions with tenants, focus groups, one on one interviews, phone, and email correspondence, as well as gathering data from surveys.

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The survey for renters is open – to participate (click here). The link is also available on the city’s website and on their Instagram account.

The deadline is Sunday, September 17, 2023 and if you need an extension and/or would like to set up a meeting, contact Leah Demarest at ldemarest@southpasadenaca.gov or (626) 372-8755.

Deputy City Manager, Domenica Megerdichian, said to The South Pasadenan: “we want to meet people where they are comfortable -whether that is speaking at a City Council Meeting or filling out an anonymous survey, or coming in and sitting down with someone to make sure that their particular story or predicament is being heard. We want the community to engage. We want to receive as much input as possible and so we are reaching out in multiple ways.”

As a point of reference on the importance of this issue; South Pasadena is made up of 52% renters – over half of all South Pasadena dwellers. In order for the city to move forward in the most balanced way possible, it is vital for the citizenry to give feedback ahead of a reconvening discussion this Fall. A City Council ad-hoc committee has been formed to work with staff on this effort and no policy decisions have been set in stone yet.

“The City Council and City staff want to hear from South Pasadena tenants,” says Mergerdichian. “Please provide your input on this issue so that it can help inform the deicion and policy making process. The City Council is committed to serving our community, and recognize that a majority of South Pasadenans are renters. We need to hear from you!”

What is the issue?

In April 2023, South Pasadena community members raised concerns to the City Council about the eviction of tenants by property owners to renovate the buildings, then, raise the rents in their properties. In response, the City Council adopted a moratorium on no-fault just cause evictions and directed staff to research and develop an ordinance that addresses the issue of substantial remodel evictions. The moratorium is set to expire on December 28, 2023.

At the City Council Meeting on June 13, 2023, City staff presented a draft ordinance that would amend South Pasadena’s Just Cause for Eviction Ordinance in the following ways:

  • Property owners would no longer be able to evict a tenant to substantially remodel their properties.
  • Property owners would be able to complete “Necessary and Substantial Repairs,” but they would have to take steps to make sure the tenant still has decent and safe living conditions.
  • If the “Necessary and Substantial Repairs” require the tenant to temporarily move out of the unit, the property owner would have to provide temporary relocation assistance to the tenant.
  • “Necessary and Substantial Repairs” would include:
  1. substantial repairs that are necessary to bring the property and/or unit into compliance with certain laws;
  2. replacement or substantial modification of any system that requires a permit; and
  3. the abatement of hazardous materials.

A full draft of the proposed ordinance can be viewed here. The City Council did not adopt this ordinance and directed staff to further study the matter.

Renters in a single-family home, ADU, or owner-occupied duplex may not be protected under the current ordinance or moratorium and should contact the City’s Housing Division for more information. If you have any questions or would like additional information, contact Leah Demarest, Senior Planner for Housing Programs, at ldemarest@southpasadenaca.gov or (626) 372-8755.

Take the survey using this link. You can also find it at SouthPasadenaCA.gov Community Development page under Housing Division. You may also access the link on the SouthPasadenaCA Instagram page or call (626) 372-8755 to take the survey by phone or ask that it be emailed to you. The survey is available in English, Chinese, and Spanish and is also available in PDF or hard copy form at a community members’ request.

In addition, as with any matter, the public is always invited to provide written, virtual, or in-person public comment at any regular City Council meeting, under the general public comment section of the meeting agenda. The next regular Council Meeting is Wednesday September 27 at 7pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall.